From twelve yards away, you’d think the penalty shot was a shoo-in for most professional football players. But given the situation and all the nerves, poorly taken penalty kicks can make even the best footballers look like fools. Here are eleven of the worst penalty attempts of all-time.
Roberto Baggio, Italy vs Brazil World Cup Final 1994
Here he was — one of the most recognizable names in world football who led his team all the way to the final. Surely, Robert Baggio would put the penalty kick away and tie it up to at least give his team a chance to extend the shoot-out. But Baggio shanked it, smashing the ball high above the bar and into the crowd. The miss left an unfortunate scar on the legendary striker.
Simone Zaza, Italy vs. Germany EURO 2016 Quarterfinal
Perhaps if the Italian striker hadn’t danced his way into kicking the penalty, most people would’ve forgiven him especially since six other players missed theirs. However, Zaza cockily moved toward the goalie like an organetto player and blasted it over the goal post. You can’t unsee it.
Ivan Rocha, Alaves vs. Valencia 1998
This video is exhibit A for the main reasons defenders shouldn’t typically take penalty kicks. While Brazilian defender Ivan Rocha developed into a reliable goal-scorer, his effort against Valencia was a specialist in failure. While the kick starts off looking like a comfortable and typical penalty kick, Rocha ended up being a little too nonchalant. He somehow sliced the ball all the way to the left of the goal before crashing down on the grass in embarrassment.
Peter Devine | Lancaster City vs. Whitley Bay 1991
Granted, the pitch for the HFS Northern Premier League Division One Cup Final looked like an absolute disaster. But Lancaster’s English winger Peter Devine made it look far worse, tripping and then feigning an injury.
Neymar, Brazil vs Colombia Friendly 2012
Neymar is one of the best modern-day players but his sky-high penalty kick against goalie David Ospina and Colombia in a 2012 friendly in Giants stadium makes him quite the opposite. He even teed up the kick with a little running dance and stutter steps before sending the ball the crowd as a souvenir.
Gary Lineker, England vs Brazil 1992
In an international friendly in 1992, all English forward Gary Lineker needed was one goal to tie the great Bobby Charlton’s record for most England goals at 49. Except Lineker flubbed it, kicking the bar slowly and predictably at the keeper. It wouldn’t matter anyway because Rooney would become England’s top scorer with 53 goals years later.
Francesco Totti, AS Roma vs. Lecce 2007
He may have succeeded in chipping one over Edwin Van Der Sar in Euro 2000 but his later attempt at a ‘Panenka’ penalty for AS Roma against Serie A side Lecce totally bombed. So embarrassed and frustrated, he gave the goalie a little push.
Pat Nevin, Chelsea vs Man City 1984
The Scottish footballer Pat Nevin kicked a stinker against Manchester City in a 1984 match. Perhaps his one step and kick approach was a bit too easygoing.
David Beckham, Turkey Vs England European Championship 2004 Group 7 qualification match
You know when one of the best free kickers of all time sends a penalty kick sky-high, mistakes can happen to anybody. The game ended 0-0 in Istanbul with David Beckham and England still qualifying for the tournament.
Andrea Pirlo, AC Milan vs Barcelona 2010 friendly
When it works, the ‘Panenka’ looks like a stroke of genius such as when Andrea Pirlo duped Joe Hart at the Euro 2012 quarter-final. But two years earlier, Pirlo massively failed to trick Barcelona goalie, Jose Pinto. Thankfully, the game was just a friendly.
Peter Crouch, England vs Jamaica 2006 World Cup Warmup game
Despite the fact that the former 6’7 England and Liverpool striker Peter Crouch bagged a hat-trick in a 2006 World Cup warmup game against Jamaica, he still completely over-lobbed the keeper on a penalty kick and sent a souvenir into the stands.